October 2020

We hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving last weekend. While our gatherings may have been smaller this year, we hope it included some of the many fresh and local products available this time of year. Whether it be a plate full of turkey and vegetables or honey in your tea, we are very thankful for the many Ontario farmers, and others across the supply chain, providing us with an abundant food supply. 

This month we are featuring board member Henry Wydeven. Henry and his family have been dairy farming since 1985. We are also highlighting genomics projects that are helping advance both the farming and food processing sectors, across a variety of commodities and food products.  

Finally, as we near AAC’s 25th anniversary in December, keep an eye on our Twitter account @adaptcouncil. We will be sharing highlights and achievements from the past 25 years. While we can’t bring the industry together as we celebrate this milestone, we hope to virtually “see” our 65 member organizations in attendance at this year’s members only Annual General Meeting. 


Chris Hiemstra, AAC Chair
Terry Thompson, AAC Executive Director
Henry Wydeven, Director

Henry is one of two supply management representatives on the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC) board. He was elected to the board in 2019.

Henry and his wife, Wilma, have three children, and seven grandchildren. They milk 125 cows and run 350 acres with their son, Kevin, and his wife, Katie. While Henry and his wife are semi-retired and live off the farm, they still play an active role in the operation.   

Off the farm, Henry has been an active member of a number of different organizations. Since 2014, he has represented Huron and Perth county milk producers on the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) board. In addition to his role as a DFO board member, he also chairs DFO’s Transportation Committee, and Organic Producers Advisory Committee, and serves on the Research and Development Committee, Markets and Allocations Committee, and the Stray Voltage Working Group. 

Prior to serving on the DFO board, he was chair of the Perth County Dairy Committee, and has been involved with the board at Quadro Communications Telephone Co-operative and the branch council at Libro Credit Union Stratford branch.   

Being involved in the dairy industry for 35 years has been very rewarding for Henry and his family. He believes it is important to take on leadership roles within the industry to ensure both dairy, and the broader agri-food sector, continue to stay strong for the future generations of Ontario farmers. 

We have asked a few questions to learn more about Henry, click here to read his responses:

  1. What do you enjoy most about being on the AAC board?
  2. Why do you feel it’s important to give back to the community/industry and take on leadership positions with different boards?
  3. With your grandchildren, you now have the fourth generation on the farm. What advice do you have for others transitioning their operation to the next generation?  
  4. Dairy farmers across Canada are leaders in producing milk. What actions is your family taking on your own farm operation to ensure consumers are receiving safe and high-quality milk?  
  5. What is your favourite Ontario food product to enjoy when it’s in season? 
  6. AAC is turning 25 this year, what the major changes you have seen on your dairy operation since 1995? 
Advancing genomics research to benefit Ontario farmers and food processors

The Ontario Regional Priorities Partnership Program (ON-RP3) was launched in 2017 to respond to findings from Ontario Genomics' (OG) Genomics for Agriculture & Agri-Food - Ontario’s Strategic Opportunity. Through an AAC, OG and Genome Canada partnership, ON-RP3 funding is helping the Ontario agriculture and agri-food sector develop genomics-derived solutions for industry-identified challenges and opportunities.

Eight industry-academic partnerships have been actively working on their ON-RP3 projects since mid-2019. Although it has been a challenging year for research, due to COVID-19, most research teams have been able to move ahead and the year one results have been very successful. This research is taking place across the sector to help ensure safe and healthy food products are available for consumers:
  • Dairy – University of Guelph and Semex are exploring precision fertility and resiliency phenotyping in dairy cattle to provide novel and innovative methods for selecting robust dairy animals. 
  • Wheat – University of Guelph and Grain Farmers of Ontario will integrate genomic prediction into an active wheat breeding program and use state-of-the-art technologies to establish a system to identify superior breeding lines.
  • Beverages – University of Guelph and Escarpment Labs are developing Beer Yeast Performance Database for brewers to incorporate into their production process to create product diversity. 
  • Food Processing – University of Guelph and Ferrero Rocher are developing a more productive and sustainable hazelnut cultivar that will provide diverse hazelnut genotypes to mitigate the impacts of climate fluctuations on field grown trees. 

You can read more about all of the ON-RP3 projects on the AAC website